Allergies can be one of the most uncomfortable experiences an individual may have. Anyone can get them, at any age. An allergy occurs when the immune system recognizes a foreign substance in the environment as harmful and mounts an immune response to that substance. This leads to symptoms of an allergic reaction every time one is exposed to that substance.
Allergies cause a lot of symptoms such as sneezing, itching, wheezing and coughing. Most adults are used to the symptoms but for a child, it can be miserable.
No parent wants to see their child suffer. Since it’s impossible for parents to control absolutely everything their child is exposed to, it is important for them to study what triggers such reaction and monitor their child for symptoms.
Common allergies in children and their management
Pollen allergies (allergic rhinitis or hay fever)
Allergic rhinitis is the most common childhood ailment caused by allergies. Symptoms include ;
- runny and itchy nose
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy watery eyes
- Reduced sense of taste or smell
Severe pollen allergies affect a child’s school work and prevent him or her from playing outdoors.
The best way to combat hay fever is to avoid the particular allergen. Treatment include :
- Keep the child indoors on both dry and windy days
- Wash outdoor clothes of the child
- Ensure regular bath of the child
- Keep doors and windows closed when pollen counts are high
- Ensure the room is always cool
Medications to treat hay fever symptoms include :
- Combination antihistamine and decongestant medications
Food allergies affect a child’s skin, gastrointestinal tract, respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms. The most common food allergy triggers in children are ;
- Cow milk
- Fish and shellfish
A child with food allergy will develop one or more of the following symptoms within few minutes to an hour after eating the food ;
- Runny nose
- Itching around the mouth or ears
- Red, itchy rash
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of the lips, tongue and face
Young children can not always explain their symptoms clearly, sometimes parents have to interpret what the child is feeling. A child might be having an allergic reaction if he or she say something like ;
- “my tongue is too big “
- “There is something stuck in my throat “
- “My mouth itches”
The best treatment, by far, is avoidance.
- check food labels if they contain certain allergens
- When eating in restaurants or any eatery, make sure to ask the server if the dish contains the food your child is allergic to
Medicines to treat both minor and severe symptoms include ;
- Epinephrine auto-injector
How do I know if my child has an allergy?
Most children are allergic to something. There are chances that one’s child probably has an allergy of some kind.
Depending on the type of allergy, symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes , a rash , anaphylaxis are evident to indicate.
Generally, inasmuch as allergies may be very uncomfortable, this should not cause alarm since most reactions can easily be dealt with by taking prescribed drugs or avoiding objects that cause such reactions. If your child’s reactions seem to be getting out of hand, see a doctor.